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6 Beauty Trends To Keep Your Eye On In 2021

In beauty, how to, makeup, makeup artist tools, skincare on January 8, 2021 at 8:30 am

It’s no secret that 2020 was a year filled with many unexpected twist and turns. Daily life was upended and most people were confined to their homes. If you did leave the house, you had to have a mask on.

If you didn’t already work in an industry where a mask was required (surgeon, auto mechanic, etc.) chances are the mask may have wrecked havoc on your entire beauty routine. From maskne to not needing to apply the usual highlight, contour and favorite lip, some beauty routines became less important while learning to navigate what was quickly becoming the new norm. And, with all of the extra time that many had on their hands, increased beauty experiments and online shopping became a form of entertainment to cope. Increased DIY also became a part of the new norm as many tried to figure out how to maintain their skin, hair and nails since everything was shut down. Endless zoom calls required you to take what you learned from your Instagram feed and YouTube and apply them to yourself.

Now that the new year has begun, it will be interesting to see what is new, what is re-invented what will remain the same as time progresses. Continue reading to discover 6 beauty trends to keep your eye on throughout the upcoming season.

Glowy Skin. Skin that radiates is a goal that everyone has. In times past the quickest way to achieve that enviable glow was with various forms of highlighters and luminizers. This method of topical glow is perfectly fine and will not go away. I do find however that many people desire the health of their skin to be the source of their glow. This can be achieved many different ways, particularly with a regular routine of cleansing, exfoliation, and a healthy lifestyle. To get that added boost, add in a serum that targets radiance and correction specifically and apply your moisturizer after.

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops

Laneige Glowy Makeup Serum

OKO Skincare Glow Hydrating Serum

Pixi Skintreats Overnight Glow Serum

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Serum

Foundation Hybrids. Long gone are the days of heavy foundations that clog your pores and assault your skin. Think of foundation hybrids as a relationship between foundation and skincare. These new formulations have a combination of pigments, SPF as well as ingredients to help improve the skin such as antioxidants, kombucha, and peptides. Foundation hybrids allow breathability and flexibility on the skin as well as various levels of coverage when you switch your tool and technique.

Live Tinted Huestick

Urban Decay Hydromaniac Tinted Glow Hydrator

Kosas Tinted Face Oil Foundation

ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40

Colorful eyes. Because of masks, now is the time more than ever to flex your makeup skills and play up your eyes. And what better way to accentuate your eyes than with this season’s trend of colorful eyes with colored mascaras, liners and eyeshadows. The wonderful thing about these bright colorful eye trends is that you can keep it minimal or monochromatic with just a liner or mascara or go all out with creating a glamorous look with a colorful smoky or spotlight eye.

ColourPop BFF Mascara

YSL Beaute Vinyl Couture Mascara

Limecrime Astronomical Mascara

L’oreal Paris Voluminous Original Mascara

NYX Professional Makeup Vivid Brights Eyeliner

Shany Cosmetics Indelible Gel Liner

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil

Juvia’s Place Warrior 3 Palette

Violet Voss Mini Forget Me Not Palette

Limecrime Venus 3 Eyeshadow Palette

Bushy Full Brows. Eyebrows are extremely important as they are the architecture of your face. If your brows are not on point, why bother with anything else? As of late we have seen a lot more of a relaxed yet well structured brow as opposed to the highly stylized bold Insta brow. Brows styles have a specific microbladed look for natural effect. And fear not – if you naturally have minimal to sparse brows, you can still fake it with many of the brow markers that more brands are creating.

Benefit Microfilling Brow Pen

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Pen

Ardell Stroke A Brow Feathering Pen

MAC Shape + Shade Brow Tint

Patrick Ta Major Brow Shaping Wax

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Primer

Makeup Revolution Soap Brow

Red/Red Orange Lips. A red lip never goes out of style. Regardless of the season or what other popular lip trends there may be, a red lip – particularly matte – is forever classy and an essential item for your makeup collection. And yes it is normal and ok to several favorite red lips. When wearing a red lip, always remember to exfoliate, prep and line before applying your red lip.

Nars Cosmetics Lipstick (Heatwave)

Dior Rouge Dior Lipstick (999 Matte)

Buxom Cosmetics Full Force Plumping Lipstick (Powerhouse)

Nars Cosmetics Powermatte Lip Pigment (Light My Fire)

Too Faced Melted Matte Liquified Long Wear Lipstick (Lady Balls)

Lashes. Daily application of false lashes will never go out of style. While this may be true, many are seeking other alternatives to this daily process to make their eyes pop. Lash extensions may be an option for some if they are comfortable with going to a salon. For those who don’t mind taking their beauty into their own hands, there are less expensive at home options such as lashes that last for 7-10 days without having to remove and reapply daily.

Lashify

Moitie Cosmetics

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Need one on one consulting, customization or updates for your beauty and fashion questions and concerns, visit khalilahneals.com

10 Tips To Deal With Difficult People

In career, how to, lifestyle on January 6, 2021 at 8:30 am

In an ideal world, getting along with everyone you encounter would be a wonderful thing. No conflict. No yelling. No getting annoyed or angry. Life would be wonderful.

Unfortunately this is not reality. In fact, you may be the peaceful and easygoing type but in many of the relationships and interactions you have, you will have to deal with someone who irks your nerves to infinity. Some people, although they are difficult, may be easier to deal with because you may be able to tell them politely where to go and how to get there. Other people you may find yourself needing to pray, meditate and/or quickly formulate some type of strategy on how to interact with them so that you can remain civil and stay out of jail.

All jokes aside, how do you deal with those who don’t listen or who always have something critical and snarky to say? How do you handle those who overstep their boundaries, lie or question everything you do?You can always avoid that person but in many cases that is not feasible. Whether the difficulty lies with family, friends or even coworkers, there are strategies that you can use to navigate relationships that are more difficult.

Stay Calm. When you find yourself being confronted by someone you find difficult to interact with, stay calm, particularly if the other person gets emotional. You don’t want to add fuel to the fire. By staying calm, you will be more rational and able to discuss the topic at hand.

Seek Feedback. When you have a difficult time with someone, seek feedback from other intelligent people in your life. It can be a good idea to find out if you have the right perspective of the situation and the person you find yourself at odds with.

Seek Understanding. In relation to the person you find difficult, make sure you have understanding of what is being ask of you or what the other person is saying about you or the situation at hand. Ask questions. Check in periodically and keep notes for reference. Also, keep in mind that people don’t think the same way that you do so again seeking understanding is critical.

Communicate And Build Rapport. If possible, take some time to get to know the person. If appropriate, plan a fun activity where everyone can let their guard down a bit. Also, seek to give and gain honest feedback. Be sure that any feedback you give is rooted in fact and not emotion.

Remain Respectful. Refrain from using insults and name calling (no matter how deserving or true these words may be.)

Set Boundaries. You have the right be respected and to tell the person you are at odds with to interact with you in a respectful manner.

Avoid Accusations. Begin with “I feel” statements as opposed to pointing the finger and using an accusatory tone.

Speak Only When Necessary. Sometimes relationships with certain people is just not in the cards. Keep interactions brief and cordial and communicate only when necessary.

Take Conflict To Next Level. If this is a work or school situation and you have already had a 1×1 with the person to tell them how you feel and that still doesn’t work, take your concern to HR or an administrator.

Walk Away. This can be easier said than done but when there is not much to lose other than a headache and aggravation, walk away.

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Need one on one consulting, customization or updates for your beauty and fashion questions and concerns, visit khalilahneals.com.

How To Look Better In Your Next Video Call

In beauty, how to, makeup, skincare on May 18, 2020 at 9:25 pm

Image Courtesy of Cottonbro via Pexels

It’s no secret that video has become a valuable tool in our technologically advanced society, especially during these strange times.  From FaceTime and Skype to the ever increasing popularity and use of Zoom, video is a great way to stay connected.

Now, more than ever, video calls are the go to tool for many of the things we do, from work to virtual happy hours and parties.  With that being said, how we look on video is just as important as the information that is being exchanged.  It usually doesn’t matter when we communicate via phone call, text and email but obviously, in video, people see you.  In most cases, when it comes down to work and even things like virtual dating, looks matter.  Think about it – how would you present yourself to your current or potential boss, client or even a romantic prospect?  You wouldn’t show up in pajamas or a dusty t-shirt or a face mask for your zits.  You, instead, would put your best face forward.  Again, looks matter so it’s important to look your personal best.  Also since many of us are currently stuck inside, that’s all the more reason to put on that lipstick, hair or outfit you’ve been wanting to wear.  So go ahead, you can still slay through that screen with these simple tips/reminders:

Lighting.  When you take a selfie, you usually make sure you show up in the best light.  The same goes for when you are doing a video call.  Natural light is the better option as it most flattering.  The key when using natural light is positioning yourself at the correct angle.  To catch the best light, sit facing the window (or other light source for that matter).  If the sun is particularly bright you can close the blinds a little or put up a white curtain to help filter the light.  On cloudy days you can sit more directly in the light source because your features won’t be blown out.  Whatever the case, be sure to not sit with your back to your light source which will cause your figure to be shadowy.

You can always add a light source if necessary.  Ring lights are very popular and can be found on Amazon (or eBay).  I’ve been using the Make Up Light for several years because I like the ability to customize the fixtures and the fact that that it breaks down quickly, making it easier to carry and can fit mostly in a large tote bag.

You can always use a regular lamp if necessary.  Remember to position it in front of you (behind your computer or other video source).

Sound.  Be sure that your sound is working, without feedback/echo.  This is especially important if you are a presenter or leading the meeting.  Usually the sound on your chosen device is sufficient however if you need something that works better, there are microphone options on Amazon (or eBay).

Setting.  Where you take your virtual meeting (or event) is just as important as how you look.  Choose an area free of excessive distractions.  If possible, set up at a desk or table with ample lighting and a comfortable chair.  Make sure that whatever people see behind you is clean, neat, organized and visually appealing.  Add plants or artwork to add dimension to your space.  If you live with other people or other people will be present in your space, make sure they know when you will be participating in your meeting/event and that they are aware that they should keep noise to a minimum or non-existent.

Position.  Make sure your device (laptop, phone, tablet) is positioned at face/eye level.  and make sure you have good posture.  This will help you to not look distorted and again helps to present you in the best “light” possible.

Wardrobe.  Although, for the most part, you will only be seen from mid chest upwards, it’s still important that whatever people see looks nice.  Choose flattering colors that will complement your skin tone and contrast nicely with your background as well as ensure the right fit for your clothing.  Keep prints to a minimum and be sure that what you are wearing is not too revealing.  A blazer and camisole/t-shirt/blouse is a no fail combination, as well as just a blouse or nice sweater.  It all depends on your work environment, dress code and expectations.  Don’t forget accessories like a simple pair of earrings and/or necklace to complete the look.  However, be sure to avoid noisy jewelry as that can be a distraction.

Makeup.  Whether you know very little about makeup or don’t care for it, the fact  remains that a polished look makes for a good impression.  Again, looks matter.  And not in a “I look like a supermodel” but more of a way in which you don’t look like you just rolled out of bed and was dragged behind a dump truck.  You don’t have to do the most, just follow the basics of giving good face – “flawless” complexion, soft yet well defined brows, lash lift, lip tint/color, sculpting and definition.

  • Flawless Complexion.  Since makeup is never a substitute for good skin, start with a basic skincare routine for your skin type (if you don’t already have a 50 step process in place) – cleanse, tone, moisturize.  Once you have those basics in place,  a primer is your next step.  A primer will keep your makeup up on longer and can help your makeup look better on your skin.  Next apply a lightweight tinted moisturizer or foundation with a beauty blender or foundation brush.  If you need more coverage you can  definitely choose a medium/full coverage foundation.  Dark under eye circles/hyper-pigmentation (acne scars, etc) is a common concern for many so don’t forget a concealer.  Follow up with a setting powder to lock everything in place and to cut down on shine.
  • Brows.  I cannot stress the importance of having good brows.  Brows are the architecture of your face and can make or break your look.  If  you have full brows already, all you may need to do is use a brow gel to tame and shape them.  If you have brows that are more sparse, there are a multitude of products that you can use from brow powder to pencil to fill in/create the perfect brow.
  • Eyes.  You don’t have to do a full smoky eye.  In most cases, eye liner and mascara will suffice.  If you want to give a little more,  you can always choose a color slightly deeper than your complexion in your crease to give a little more depth and structure to the eye by applying/blending with a crease brush.  Finish off with 2-3 coats of your preferred mascara.  For eyeliner, choose an off black or black/brown to define the eye shape and use a smudge brush to soften the lines.  These two color choices will define without looking too dramatic or harsh.
  • Lips.  First off, exfoliation and moisture is so important – whether you choose to wear lip color or not.  Speaking of color, you don’t have to do full on color – a lip tint can suffice if you don’t want to do the most.  But for everyone else, go ahead and  put on that bold bright beautiful color to liven things up.  Mattes are good choice because in many cases, depending on formulation/brand, there is minimal transfer.
  • Sculpting with blush.  Add a little blush to add warmth to the complexion and  to sculpt and define those cheekbones.

Hair.  Brush it.  Comb it.  Shave it.  Cut it.  Do whatever you have to do to make sure it looks nice and presentable.  Styling products are your friend.  Add accessories if you need to like a headband or a nice hair clip.  Chances are you have many of these things in your arsenal.  You just need to use them.

 

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Need one on one consulting, customization or updates for your beauty and fashion questions and concerns, visit khalilahneals.com.

How To Receive A Gift You Don’t Like

In etiquette, gift giving, holiday, how to on January 31, 2019 at 12:04 pm

The holidays are over but throughout the year you might find yourself on the receiving end of gifts you aren’t too fond of.

We have all been there:  It’s gift exchange time or some other occasion during the year and you receive a gift prompting an immediate roller coaster of negative emotion, causing you to think:

  • “What the hell?”
  • “What were you thinking?”
  • “Are you serious?”
  • “Going in the trash.”
  • “This relationship is over.”

When you receive a gift that is less than desirable, it can make you wonder if the giver put any consideration into what they were giving you.  It is possible the gift giver is clueless, doesn’t have good taste or they just don’t care.  However, the fact of the matter is that many people struggle with giving meaningful gifts and most likely put a lot of thought and effort into selecting the gifts they give.

Whatever the case, it’s important not to offend the gift giver.  It’s never ok to be rude and instead it’s important to be gracious and show appreciation for what you receive, even if it isn’t what you would have chosen for yourself. If you struggle with how to react when receiving a gift you don’t particularly care for, keep the following in mind when it comes to navigating the murky waters of undesirable gift receiving:

Take a deep breath, smile and say thank you. As mentioned before, you don’t want to offend the gift giver so it is important to quickly manage your facial expression and thoughts to mask any negative emotion you might feel.  If you are used to Aunt Janet giving you cat socks for every milestone in your life even though you like birds and you never wear socks, then you know how to do this but if you are doing a gift exchange with someone new, you might need to practice the rapid fire smile and thank you.  You might even throw in a hug to give yourself time to recover before you face the person again.

Don’t gossip about the gift.  Keep discussion about the gift to a minimum, especially if you are around the person (perhaps at a gathering). Word travels fast and you don’t want to cause trouble –  even though you are troubled by what you received.

React to the thought of the gift.  Keep in mind that most people have the best of intentions when giving you a gift.  It’s also important to not let negative emotion overrule all manners and sense of decorum, especially when it’s someone who cares for you.  Instead, respond to the spirit of the gift.

Deflect attention away from the gift.  If the giver continues to press you for your thoughts about the gift, you can always say something like

  • “Thank you.  I appreciate it.”
  • “I’m not sure how I’m going to use this but I’m definitely going to put this to good use.”
  • “Do you have one? How do you use it?”

Re-gift with caution.  If you store the gift away for later, put the date and the name of the person who gave it to so you don’t give it back to them at a later date.  Hopefully that same gift won’t come back to them in the future from someone else you re-gifted to.

How should you react if you receive a gift that that is offensive such as something with racial undertones, is sexist or doesn’t support a personal journey (you are working towards sobriety and the person gifts you alcohol)?  You are within your right to politely tell them how you feel about the gift they have given you.

Now…

What if you are someone who is challenged and misses the mark when it comes to gift exchange?  If that’s you, keep these 6 points in mind to help you be a better gift giver.

Pay attention.  Take note of what the recipient buys for themselves, their personal style, what they talk about, even how they decorate.  This type of information can give you some insight into what they might like to receive as a gift.

Give gifts around their hobby or interest. For instance if the person you are shopping for is an avid gamer, instead of or in addition to getting them the newest game, consider getting them a gaming chair.

Ask.  Simply put, it never hurts to ask what a person wants for themselves.

Take yourself out of the equation. Remember that the gift isn’t for you so if your Uncle James loves collecting ashtrays from the 1920’s then go ahead, make the man’s day and get him those rusty ashtrays.

Don’t give anything that is used.  It’s poor taste and makes you look very bad, especially if the item looks, smells or feels used.

Give money or a gift card.  There are many schools of thought regarding giving money or gift cards as gifts.  The prevailing thought is that it is not very thoughful or personal.  I believe it depends on the relationship between the giver and the receiver and chances are you’ve never met anyone who didn’t like to receive cold hard cash as a gift.   Giving money/gift cards can often empower someone to purchase things for themselves that they normally wouldn’t purchase for themselves. Which can be a gift in and of itself.

6 Alternatives To Traditional Gift Giving

In gift giving, holiday, how to on December 22, 2018 at 11:12 am

Image Courtesy Of Pexels.com

Time to wrap it up with these 6 alternative gift giving ideas.

It is literally three days away from Christmas and you are either still shopping, haven’t started yet or just feel a last minute urge to do something nice for somone.  You might think that time isn’t on your side at this point and leaving your house to shop is a frightening proposition.  Have no fear because you do have options in the form of gift giving alternatives. These are the types of gifts can be in the form of a service or donation that may only require just a few clicks from your laptop, tablet or cell phone.  What’s even better is the fact that these types of gifts reduce clutter and your carbon footprint because you won’t have to wrap it or deliver it to your recipient.

Continue reading for a short list on gift giving alternative ideas for the holiday season (or anytime) that will make you everyone’s favorite and earn you some well deserved bragging rights.

Gift A Service.  Perhaps you have heard someone who has children say they need an evening to themselves or that their home office could use some reorganization but they don’t have time.  You can gift a babysitting or home organization service yourself if you are skilled in that area or you can choose a reputable agency to do it for them.  The ideas are endless and can include massage, lawn care or personal shopping.

Gift A Fitness Pass/Membership.  This is of course if someone close to you has stated that they want to go to that fun Soul Cycle class they heard about or that cool kickboxing class at their local gym that they just haven’t gotten around to purchasing for themselves. Otherwise you may want steer clear of that as health and fitness can be a sensitive topic for some.

Gift Food Prep Service.  Again this might be something you gift yourself because you are skilled in this area AND the recipient has expressed an interest in your culinary expertise.  Otherwise, get them a gift certificate or take them to dinner at their favorite restaurant or one they have been wanting to try.  You can also choose to gift them with a food prep/delivery service such as Blue Apron, Hello Fresh or Thrive.  These are great ideas because with everyone’s busy schedule, grocery shopping and preparing meals can sometimes be exhausting.  With these types of services, everything the recipient needs will be delivered to their door with customized food options with great recipies that they can use over and over again.

Gift A Donation To A Favorite Charity Or Organization.  It always thoughtful and supportive to donate to a cause your loved one is passionate about.

Gift A Gift Card.  There are many different opinions about whether gift cards make great gifts however if you know that someone uses services such Amazon, iTunes or uber often, why not give a gift card for something you know they are going to use and appreciate?

Gift Education.  Gift an amount towards a course, conference or book someone has been talking about which can help them gain more knowledge or help their business or career.

Your gift giving options are endless and can include so many ideas such such as hosting a fundraiser to a local shelter or food bank, naming a star after someone, writing a thoughtful card to someone to encourage them, a recipe exchange and so much more.  Use your imagination and you are well on your way to giving a gift that special someone will remember.

10 Last Minute Holiday Gift Giving Ideas For The Holiday Season

In gift giving, how to, lifestyle on December 15, 2018 at 6:56 am

The pressure is on.  It’s the 11th hour and you still need to find that perfect holiday gift for the people on you list.

Image Courtesy Of Pexels.com

Every year you find yourself in the same place: having promised yourself that you are going to complete your holiday shopping before December arrives only to find yourself just starting your shopping days before Christmas. Even if you are THAT person who starts shopping ahead of time, you might find that at the last minute you want to add a little something extra to someone’s list.  Whatever the case, retailers anticipate all types of holiday shoppers and have you covered with gift ideas that will make you appear to be a classy, thoughtful individual with amazing taste.

Continue reading to discover some last minute ideas that will make you everyone’s favorite and earn you some well deserved bragging rights.

Molton Brown London Jasmine & Sun Rose Exquisite Bathing Oil $65

Give the gift of making bath time a luxurious experience with this bath oil.  Made with rose, patchouli and Egyptian nigella, this exquisite bathing oil will leave skin soft and delicately fragranced.

Volupsa Edge Candle & Diffuser Gift Set in Japanese Plum Bloom$45

Inspired by Japanese paper making and plum bloom trees, this beautiful scalloped design of this candle/reed diffuser will beautify any living space.  The candle will give 50 hours of burn time and the diffuser will last 4-6 months.

Do One Thing Everyday That Inspires You:  A Creativity Journal $10

Inspire creativity with a journal that contains a years worth of inspirational prompts from authors, writers, dancers, chefs, teachers that will allow one to do some introspection and self discovery.

Cocktail Travel Kit $24

Enjoy your favorite cocktail anytime/anywhere – including flying the friendly skies with these TSA compliant cocktail travel kits.  Each kit contains the tools and ingredients needed to mix your perfect adult beverage.  Just ask for the hard stuff and mix.  Enough for two drinks for yourself or to share.

Winc Personalized Wine Subscription $13 and up

Perfect for those who love wine but don’t necessarily have the time or expertise to curate their own wine collection, this can be the perfect starter gift for wine enthusiasts.  For those who enjoy beverages such as whisky or gin, consider gifting a subscription to a whisky or gin club of the month or even a class where the recipient can take a cocktail making class.

Merlot Infused Coffee $20

The perfect end to a delicious meal and for wine and coffe enthusiasts.  If you are torn between another glass of wine or the comfort of a delicious cup of coffee, why not have both. Although this coffee is caffeinated, it does not contain any alcohol.  For serious coffee lovers, consider the Blue Bottle Coffee subscription that explores preferences of many coffee origins and blends, delivered monthly to the recipient’s door.

Spicy Box Of Awesome – Hot Sauce Gift Set $54.95

For those who like it hot, this wood crate contains small batches of spicy greatness that food and spice lovers dreams are made of.

Celine Tea Set For Two $38

Make someone’s morning or evening tea ritual a classy affair with these beautiful imported, stoneware gold accented tea cups.

Bouquet Bar Gift Boxes $49 and up

Master the art of exquisite gifting with these beautiful gift boxes filled with delicious treats and beautiful floral arrangements.  You can choose from a ready made selection of boxes or you can create the perfect personalized gift box for your recipient.

Tangram Smart Jump Rope $79.95

Perfect for the fitness fanatic in your life.  This techy jump rope allows you to do things like see your number of jumps mid air, unlock rewards and sync to many fitness apps.

10 Universally Flattering Styles That Work On Body Types

In fashion, how to, style on August 9, 2018 at 1:00 pm

Depending on how you look at it, shopping for clothes can sometimes be quite a process.  And, if you are left to your own devices to shop yourself as many are, trying to decide what style of clothing works on your body type can sometimes leave you annoyed, confused, discouraged or all 3.  There are a lot of clothing styles and different body types out there so it’s only natural to sometimes wonder what works for you.

Believe it or not, there is a such thing as clothing styles that are universally flattering for all body types.  Yes it is important to know what works specifically for you but you can also take the guess work out of building your wardrobe with the following styles, regardless of your size, body type, or height:

Wrap Dress.  The wrap dress works on every shape and size.  What’s great about this type of dress is that it highlights the smallest part of your waist (or helps to create one) and can give the illusion of curves and can complement a larger posterior.  Wrap dresses also have surplice (define) v neckline and the skirt portion which will either be an A-line (flare) or pencil cut, both of which complement most body types in and of themselves.  Depending on the material and the depth of the neckline, wrap dresses can be dressed up or down, worn to the office or for a special occasion.

A-Line Skirt.  Most a line skirts have a higher waist that helps to pull in and define the waist and graduates into a full skirt to hide thighs and posterior – great for those who choose to dress strategically to conceal these areas.

Pencil Skirt.  Pencil skirts look great on a multitude of figures because they create a great silhouette by conforming to the hips and skimming the legs.  The key is finding a skirt with details that will flatter your body type and either highlight or conceal certain aspects of your frame.  This can mean choosing a pencil skirt with varying features such as rouching, peplums and varying fabrics to create the best look.

Drop Crotch/Herem Pants.  This fun staple is a relaxed look that isn’t too tight.  It skims the body and tapers at the ankle.  Create balance with a loose fitting top.  If you want to add a bit of contrast, pair with a top that is a bit more form fitting.  Depending on how the high the waist of the harem pants are, you can even pair a crop top with them.  Concerned that a crop top is not for you because you don’t have six-pack abs?  No worries – a crop top can highlight the smallest part of the waist without showing skin.

Shirt Dress.  Shirt dresses are great because they allow you to create what isn’t there.  You can cut the belt loops that come on the dress and tie that sash where your waist is naturally.  You can even pair an entirely different belt with your shirt dress to create/cinch the waist.  Use this same same concept for a trench coat.

Collarless Blazer.  These types of blazers are universally flattering because they drape over the bust without the bulkiness.  This allows you to wear tops that aren’t as thin underneath your blazer.  This concept is especially great for those who may have a larger bust line where some collars may drape over that particular area in an unflattering way.

Paneled Dresses.  Paneled dresses create illusion wherever you want it because of the panels (color clocking).  Need to hide a tummy, choose a darker color or a pattern in the front to create the illusion of a smaller waistline.  Want a nip at the side/hip area, choose a paneled dress with the darker color or with surplice lines on the side.

Jumpsuits.  Jumpsuits are great because for one thing, you don’t have to do much coordinating.  Jumpsuits create many options for varying body types because you can choose a style that drapes, skims, or hugs the body in varying fabrics and silhouettes.  Bodysuits/Leotards have a similar concept and end unnecessary bunching around the waist.

Bodycon Dresses.  Every bodycon dress is not super skin tight or super short for that matter.  Like many of the aforementioned articles of clothing, the power is in the fabric, cut and silhouette of the dress.  With that said, you might choose a dress that has side panels, rouching or even a thicker, stretchy material – whatever it takes to match your comfort level.

Boot Cut Jeans.  Boot cut jeans have a more relaxed fit so they aren’t super tight like a skinny jean.  Similar to an A-line skirt, boot cut jean skim the hips and thighs so you don’t have to show off all of your parts to the world if you don’t want to.  And of course, as with jeans in general, you can dress up or down your look and wear varying types of shoes.

Please keep in mind that even within these examples, you still have to find the correct size, proportion, and preference for your particular body type and it’s nuances/uniqueness, as well as what you want to highlight or conceal.

What are your favorite universally flattering styles?  Are there any styles not list or do the aforementioned styles not work for you?  Leave your comments below.

Office Snacking Etiquette

In etiquette, how to on August 7, 2018 at 12:00 pm

Follow these tips to ensure that your office snacking is a civilized, fun filled experience.

Spending time with others to share a meal (or even snacks) in a communal setting is a wonderful pastime that many enjoy.  Whether it is around the family table, at a favorite restaurant or even a party, communal eating is a great way to catch up, strengthen bonds and connect with those around us.

This is especially true in the workplace.  Taking time out for communal eating/snacking in the workplace can encourage team building, idea creation, engagement, raise energy levels and of course banish post lunch hunger pangs.  Lets face it, even the most awesome work environments can use the provision of delicious, fun treats to add excitement to a typical workday.

Having said that, when it comes to office snacking, behaviors can occasionally get out of control.  You are probably familiar with the scenario:  you’re at work (or some other type of gathering) where there is plenty of food to enjoy and that one random person joins the group and without discretion, literally grabs food with their bare hands.  Hold Up!  Where did you just come from?  Have you washed your hands or at least used some hand sanitizer?  How does anyone know that you didn’t just use the restroom or public transportation?  Or that you didn’t just wipe your nose or come from the office handling tons of paperwork?

As with dining etiquette that suggests chewing with your mouth closed and keeping your elbows off the table, there is etiquette for less formal dining situations that suggests how one should conduct themselves – even around office chips and dip.

The following basic rules can apply anywhere…

  • Wash your hands before approaching food and drink.  No one knows where you and your hands have been.  If there is a sink nearby, do a courtesy hand wash or use hand sanitizer before touching any food (or plates/utensils) to lessen the concern of those around you.
  • Refrain from touching your hair, face and especially your nose while around communal food for obvious reasons.
  • Use utensils whenever possible – at least when it comes to serving yourself.  Many times communal office snacks are finger foods (cheese, crackers, other forms of crudite, dips and sauces) and there is always an inclination to grab a portion with bare hands.  Please don’t.  And please, as a courtesy, don’t use your chip or carrot as a utensil unless its your personal portion.
  • No Double Dipping.  Please don’t dip your chip (or other dip-able food), bite off a portion then put the remaining chip back in the community dip/sauce.  You may not have health issues but those around you may not know that.  Leaving traces of your saliva in and around the food is never cool.  And while we are on the topic of chips and dip, if your chip breaks off in the dip, please use a spoon to get said chip out.
  • Keep Your Hands Out Of The Bag. Whether you have washed your hands or not, as a courtesy, refrain from putting your hands in bags of chips, veggies, or whatever food comes in a bag.  Just pour a portion onto a napkin or plate to enjoy.  The same concept goes for breath mints, gum, candy and any other food that is not individually wrapped.
  • Clean Up After Yourself.  Enjoying communal food and drink might be confined to a common area such as a kitchen or empty room, cubicle or office.  You might even grab and go back to your desk to snack and work in private.  Whatever the case, clean up after yourself.  Use the trashcan and wipe up spills.  Put items away in the cabinet or fridge.  Don’t create the need for an exterminator to get rid of critters when all you have to do is clean up after yourself.
  • Don’t be a snack thief.  You know that person:  they grab 5 sandwiches, 5 bags of chips (to go with their sandwiches) 3 sodas and 10 cookies and stash all of it for later.  Then they go back for the portion they are going to in the moment, meanwhile no one else has had a chance to get anything to eat.  But that isn’t you.  It’s your colleague.  Anyway, be courteous and save some food for someone else.  Or at least wait until everyone has gotten their portion to go back for more.  And again, please don’t hoard, especially if you did not contribute by giving money or bringing any of the treats.

This non-exhaustive list isn’t necessarily about being a germaphobe but can fall in line with common courtesy and providing a safer, cleaner environment in which one can enjoy food and community.  When all else fails, if you are unsure of how food has been handled, just steer clear.  If you are around during the initial set up, you are safe to grab your portion before everyone else gets to it.

What has been your experience when eating in a communal office setting?  Share your tips on how you keep office snacking fun and safe.

Keep These Items On Hand For Entertaining Your Guests.

In etiquette, how to, lifestyle on February 26, 2018 at 12:00 pm

Be the host with the most by keeping these entertaining ideas in mind.

Gong out with your best friends is always a fun thing to do – gathering at your favorite restaurant and catching up over a delicious meal is always something to look forward to without worrying yourself about the details of your evening.  But what about those times you want to get together in your home?  What details do you consider to ensure your guests have a good time when they are in your home?  Whether you are hosting an impromptu gathering of friends unexpectedly “just stopping by” or having a more formal get together, there are some pantry staples to keep on hand (or at least top of mind) to make entertaining a breeze.  Ahead are ideas for items you can pick up at your local market to make your get together fun, festive and delicious!

Wine, Champagne, Sparkling Water/Juice. In addition to always having water nearby, these particular beverages speak sophistication and can enhance the flavor of the food/snacks you serve your guests.  It’s also a good idea to have a variety of teas on hand as well.

Popcorn.  Great for impromptu gatherings and easy to prepare, popcorn is the perfect snack without a ton of calories.  Sprinkle on a mixture of various seasonings to take your popcorn to the next level.  Give the following recipes a try:  a little olive oil, paprika, oregano, parsley, seasoned salt, chili powder and parmesan cheese.  Tortillas and salsa are also great options.

Crudite Platter.  Generally speaking, crudite platters usually consist of various vegetables.  Be creative and include various cheeses, meats,crackers/bread, fruit as well as hummus (or dip) and fruit spread.

Frozen Ravioli/Various Sauces.  Keeping these items on hand can make food prep a breeze.  Serve with salad and baguette.

Assorted Nuts and Chocolates.  Accessible at your local grocery store.  More variety and fun with a monthly subscription box or on nuts.com .

Ice Cream/Gellato.  Perfect to end the night.  Serve with coffee, berries, nuts, etc.

Candles/Flowers.  Perfect for the entryway and area where you are entertaining to create ambiance.

Serving Trays.  Serving trays make you and everything you serve look classy and elegant, even if you are serving pigs in a blanket while in sweatpants.

Music Playlist.  Create more ambiance with a continuous stream of great music which is easy to achieve with Pandora, Spotify and Apple Music.

What items do you keep on hand to entertain guests?  Do you always have a pantry stocked with a few essentials, rush out in in a hurry to grab a few things to eat or do you leave your guests to fend for themselves?  Please share below.

Tips For Hosting Overight Guests

In etiquette, how to, lifestyle on February 25, 2018 at 1:30 pm

Usually there is nothing more exciting than having your favorite people visit you from out of town.  When you have guests coming to stay with you for the weekend, you want to make their visit as pleasurable as possible.  And while you don’t have to do a complete home makeover, you want to make sure you extend the same hospitality and grace that you would like to have extended to you.  With the following tips and some planning, you can ensure that you an your guests have a wonderful extended time together.

First things first – figure out where your guest is going to sleep.  If you have a spare room, this won’t be too much of an issue.  If you live in an apartment, chances are your guest will sleep on the couch or on an air mattress.  Wherever your guest is going to sleep, make sure the area is comfortable, that the area has curtains/blinds and that you have provided pillows, clean linen, a blanket, waste basket and a cleared shelf or table for their use.  You can also provide bedside emergency such as a box of tissue, pain killers and antacids just in case.

Double check dates and times of arrivals, departures as well as length of visit.  If you are picking your guest up from the airport (train/bus station), make sure you have the correct location.  Nothing is worse than being on time at the wrong place.  I know.  I’ve done that.

If you have a driveway and your guest is driving to your home, save your best parking spot for them.  If you live in the city where parking is often difficult to find, let your guests know where and when to park.

Explain the quirks of your place and show your guest where everything is.  You have lived in your place for some time so you know how everything works.  You know about that toilet handle you have to jiggle and the door you have to lift and pull in order to close.  Make sure you pass this information on to your guests to save them the agony and possible embarrassment of fumbling around your home.

Stock up on toiletries and create a landing space for your guests things in the bathroom.  Usually guests bring their own personal items but it is always nice to provide a nice basket filled with body wash, unscented body lotion, toothbrush as well as a towel, washcloth, loofah, etc.  Also, make sure there is enough toilet tissue, and keep a toilet brush and a plunger nearby.

Keep a loose schedule so your guests have time to breathe, especially when they first arrive.  If your guest is in town to visit you specifically, you can always plan for activities ahead of time by asking what your guest wants to do.  If your guest is in town for business,  discuss your schedules in advance and make sure they have access into and out of your place.

Make sure your guest has your wifi access, any access codes to get into and out of your building.  Also make sure they know how to work the heater/air conditioner, remote controls and provide an extra power strip so they can plug up their computer, phone, etc.

Plan meals ahead of time and make sure you have something for your guest to snack on when they arrive.  If you can, go out to dinner one of the days your guest is in town.  Also, you can do some crock pot meals so that you don’t have to spend all of your time cooking. In addition, stock your fridge and pantry with goodies such as fruit, cheese, veggies, cold cuts, condiments, bread, pasta salad, crackers and chips that will be easy for you and your guest to fix meals and snacks.  And don’t forget the wine (or sparkling soda), juice and water.

What are some of the things you do when hosting an overnight guest in your home?